Currently, there is a limited ability to interactively study developmental cardiac mechanics and physiology. We therefore combined light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (LSFM) with virtual reality (VR) to provide a hybrid platform for 3D architecture and time-dependent cardiac contractile function characterization. By taking advantage of the rapid acquisition, high axial resolution, low phototoxicity, and high fidelity in 3D and 4D (3D spatial + 1D time or spectra), this VR-LSFM hybrid methodology enables interactive visualization and quantification otherwise not available by conventional methods, such as routine optical microscopes. We hereby demonstrate multiscale applicability of VR-LSFM to (a) interrogate skin fibroblasts interacting with a hyaluronic acid–based hydrogel, (b) navigate through the endocardial trabecular network during zebrafish development, and (c) localize gene therapy-mediated potassium channel expression in adult murine hearts. We further combined our batch intensity normalized segmentation algorithm with deformable image registration to interface a VR environment with imaging computation for the analysis of cardiac contraction. Thus, the VR-LSFM hybrid platform demonstrates an efficient and robust framework for creating a user-directed microenvironment in which we uncovered developmental cardiac mechanics and physiology with high spatiotemporal resolution.
Yichen Ding, Arash Abiri, Parinaz Abiri, Shuoran Li, Chih-Chiang Chang, Kyung In Baek, Jeffrey J. Hsu, Elias Sideris, Yilei Li, Juhyun Lee, Tatiana Segura, Thao P. Nguyen, Alexander Bui, René R. Sevag Packard, Peng Fei, Tzung K. Hsiai
An ascending aortic aneurysm (AscAA) is a life-threatening disease whose molecular basis is poorly understood. Mutations in NOTCH1 have been linked to bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), which is associated with AscAA. Here, we describe a potentially novel role for Notch1 in AscAA. We found that Notch1 haploinsufficiency exacerbated the aneurysmal aortic root dilation seen in the Marfan syndrome mouse model and that heterozygous deletion of Notch1 in the second heart field (SHF) lineage recapitulated this exacerbated phenotype. Additionally, Notch1+/– mice in a predominantly 129S6 background develop aortic root dilation, indicating that loss of Notch1 is sufficient to cause AscAA. RNA sequencing analysis of the Notch1.129S6+/– aortic root demonstrated gene expression changes consistent with AscAA. These findings are the first to our knowledge to demonstrate an SHF lineage–specific role for Notch1 in AscAA and suggest that genes linked to the development of BAV may also contribute to the associated aortopathy.
Sara N. Koenig, Stephanie LaHaye, James D. Feller, Patrick Rowland, Kan N. Hor, Aaron J. Trask, Paul M.L. Janssen, Freddy Radtke, Brenda Lilly, Vidu Garg
Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, and they are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Environmental risk factors may contribute to birth defects in genetically susceptible infants by altering critical molecular pathways during embryogenesis, but experimental evidence for gene-environment interactions is limited. Fetal hyperglycemia associated with maternal diabetes results in a 5-fold increased risk of congenital heart disease (CHD), but the molecular basis for this correlation is unknown. Here, we show that the effects of maternal hyperglycemia on cardiac development are sensitized by haploinsufficiency of Notch1, a key transcriptional regulator known to cause CHD. Using ATAC-seq, we found that hyperglycemia decreased chromatin accessibility at the endothelial NO synthase (Nos3) locus, resulting in reduced NO synthesis. Transcription of Jarid2, a regulator of histone methyltransferase complexes, was increased in response to reduced NO, and this upregulation directly resulted in inhibition of Notch1 expression to levels below a threshold necessary for normal heart development. We extended these findings using a Drosophila maternal diabetic model that revealed the evolutionary conservation of this interaction and the Jarid2-mediated mechanism. These findings identify a gene-environment interaction between maternal hyperglycemia and Notch signaling and support a model in which environmental factors cause birth defects in genetically susceptible infants.
Madhumita Basu, Jun-Yi Zhu, Stephanie LaHaye, Uddalak Majumdar, Kai Jiao, Zhe Han, Vidu Garg
GPR81 is a receptor for the metabolic intermediate lactate with an established role in regulating adipocyte lipolysis. Potentially novel GPR81 agonists were identified that suppressed fasting plasma free fatty acid levels in rodents and in addition improved insulin sensitivity in mouse models of insulin resistance and diabetes. Unexpectedly, the agonists simultaneously induced hypertension in rodents, including wild-type, but not GPR81-deficient mice. Detailed cardiovascular studies in anesthetized dogs showed that the pressor effect was associated with heterogenous effects on vascular resistance among the measured tissues: increasing in the kidney while remaining unchanged in hindlimb and heart. Studies in rats revealed that the pressor effect could be blocked, and the renal resistance effect at least partially blocked, with pharmacological antagonism of endothelin receptors. In situ hybridization localized GPR81 to the microcirculation, notably afferent arterioles of the kidney. In conclusion, these results provide evidence for a potentially novel role of GPR81 agonism in blood pressure control and regulation of renal vascular resistance including modulation of a known vasoeffector mechanism, the endothelin system. In addition, support is provided for the concept of fatty acid lowering as a means of improving insulin sensitivity.
Kristina Wallenius, Pia Thalén, Jan-Arne Björkman, Petra Johannesson, John Wiseman, Gerhard Böttcher, Ola Fjellström, Nicholas D. Oakes
BACKGROUND. Neuronal remodeling in human heart disease is not well understood. METHODS. Stellate ganglia from patients with cardiomyopathy (CMY) and refractory ventricular arrhythmias undergoing cardiac sympathetic denervation (n = 8), and from organ donors with normal hearts (n = 8) collected at the time of organ procurement were compared. Clinical data on all subjects were reviewed. Electron microscopy (EM), histologic, and immunohistochemical assessments of neurotransmitter profiles, glial activation and distribution, and lipofuscin deposition, a marker of oxidative stress, were quantified. RESULTS. In CMY specimens, lipofuscin deposits were larger, and present in more neurons (26.3% ± 6.3% vs. 16.7% ± 7.6%, P < 0.043), than age-matched controls. EM analysis revealed extensive mitochondrial degeneration in CMY specimens. T cell (CD3+) infiltration was identified in 60% of the CMY samples, with one case having large inflammatory nodules, while none were identified in controls. Myeloperoxidase-immunoreactive neutrophils were also identified at parenchymal sites distinct from inflammatory foci in CMY ganglia, but not in controls. The adrenergic phenotype of pathologic samples revealed a decrease in tyrosine hydroxylase staining intensity compared with controls. Evaluation of cholinergic phenotype by staining for the vesicular acetylcholine transporter revealed a low but comparable number of cholinergic neurons in ganglia from both groups and demonstrated that preganglionic cholinergic innervation was maintained in CMY ganglia. S100 staining (a glial cell marker) demonstrated no differences in glial distribution and relationship to neurons; however, glial activation demonstrated by glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) staining was substantially increased in pathologic specimens compared with controls. CONCLUSIONS. Stellate ganglia from patients with CMY and arrhythmias demonstrate inflammation, neurochemical remodeling, oxidative stress, and satellite glial cell activation. These changes likely contribute to excessive and dysfunctional efferent sympathetic tone, and provide a rationale for sympathectomy as a treatment for arrhythmias in this population. FUNDING. This work was made possible by support from NIH grants HL125730 to OAA, GM107949 to DBH, and HL084261 and OT2OD023848 to KS.
Olujimi A. Ajijola, Donald B. Hoover, Thomas M. Simerly, T. Christopher Brown, Jane Yanagawa, Reshma M. Biniwale, Jay M. Lee, Ali Sadeghi, Negar Khanlou, Jeffrey L. Ardell, Kalyanam Shivkumar
Chronic inflammatory diseases, such as periodontal disease, associate with adverse wound healing in response to myocardial infarction (MI). The goal of this study was to elucidate the molecular basis for impaired cardiac wound healing in the setting of periodontal-induced chronic inflammation. Causal network analysis of 168 inflammatory and extracellular matrix genes revealed that chronic inflammation induced by a subseptic dose of Porphyromonas gingivalis lipopolysaccharide (LPS) exacerbated infarct expression of the proinflammatory cytokine Ccl12. Ccl12 prevented initiation of the reparative response by prolonging inflammation and inhibiting fibroblast conversion to myofibroblasts, resulting in diminished scar formation. Macrophage secretion of Ccl12 directly impaired fibronectin and collagen deposition and indirectly stimulated collagen degradation through upregulation of matrix metalloproteinase-2. In post-MI patients, circulating LPS levels strongly associated with the Ccl12 homologue monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1). Patients with LPS levels ≥ 1 endotoxin units (EU)/ml (subseptic endotoxemia) at the time of hospitalization had increased end diastolic and systolic dimensions compared with post-MI patients with < 1 EU/ml, indicating that low yet pathological concentrations of circulating LPS adversely impact post-MI left ventricle (LV) remodeling by increasing MCP-1. Our study provides the first evidence to our knowledge that chronic inflammation inhibits reparative fibroblast activation and generates an unfavorable cardiac–healing environment through Ccl12-dependent mechanisms.
Kristine Y. DeLeon-Pennell, Rugmani Padmanabhan Iyer, Osasere K. Ero, Courtney A. Cates, Elizabeth R. Flynn, Presley L. Cannon, Mira Jung, De’Aries Shannon, Michael R. Garrett, William Buchanan, Michael E. Hall, Yonggang Ma, Merry L. Lindsey
Cardiomyopathy frequently complicates sepsis and is associated with increased mortality. Increased cardiac oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been observed during sepsis, but the mechanisms responsible for these abnormalities have not been determined. We hypothesized that NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) activation could be responsible for sepsis-induced oxidative stress and cardiomyopathy. Treatment of isolated adult mouse cardiomyocytes with low concentrations of the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) increased total cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial superoxide. Elevated mitochondrial superoxide was accompanied by depolarization of the mitochondrial inner membrane potential, an indication of mitochondrial dysfunction, and mitochondrial calcium overload. NOX2 inhibition decreased LPS-induced superoxide and prevented mitochondrial dysfunction. Further, cardiomyocytes from mice with genetic ablation of NOX2 did not have LPS-induced superoxide or mitochondrial dysfunction. LPS decreased contractility and calcium transient amplitude in isolated cardiomyocytes, and these abnormalities were prevented by inhibition of NOX2. LPS decreased systolic function in mice, measured by echocardiography. NOX2 inhibition was cardioprotective in 2 mouse models of sepsis, preserving systolic function after LPS injection or cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). These data show that inhibition of NOX2 decreases oxidative stress, preserves intracellular calcium handling and mitochondrial function, and alleviates sepsis-induced systolic dysfunction in vivo. Thus, NOX2 is a potential target for pharmacotherapy of sepsis-induced cardiomyopathy.
Leroy C. Joseph, Dimitra Kokkinaki, Mesele-Christina Valenti, Grace J. Kim, Emanuele Barca, Dhanendra Tomar, Nicholas E. Hoffman, Prakash Subramanyam, Henry M. Colecraft, Michio Hirano, Adam J. Ratner, Muniswamy Madesh, Konstantinos Drosatos, John P. Morrow
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, highlighting a pressing need to identify novel regulators of cardiomyocyte (CM) function that could be therapeutically targeted. The mammalian Hippo/Tead pathway is critical in embryonic cardiac development and perinatal CM proliferation. However, the requirement of Tead1, the transcriptional effector of this pathway, in the adult heart is unknown. Here, we show that tamoxifen-inducible adult CM–specific Tead1 ablation led to lethal acute-onset dilated cardiomyopathy, associated with impairment in excitation-contraction coupling. Mechanistically, we demonstrate Tead1 is a cell-autonomous, direct transcriptional activator of SERCA2a and SR-associated protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit, Inhibitor-1 (I-1). Thus, Tead1 deletion led to a decrease in SERCA2a and I-1 transcripts and protein, with a consequent increase in PP1-activity, resulting in accumulation of dephosphorylated phospholamban (Pln) and decreased SERCA2a activity. Global transcriptomal analysis in Tead1-deleted hearts revealed significant changes in mitochondrial and sarcomere-related pathways. Additional studies demonstrated there was a trend for correlation between protein levels of TEAD1 and I-1, and phosphorylation of PLN, in human nonfailing and failing hearts. Furthermore, TEAD1 activity was required to maintain PLN phosphorylation and expression of SERCA2a and I-1 in human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived (iPS-derived) CMs. To our knowledge, taken together, this demonstrates a nonredundant, novel role of Tead1 in maintaining normal adult heart function.
Ruya Liu, Jeongkyung Lee, Byung S. Kim, Qiongling Wang, Samuel K. Buxton, Nikhil Balasubramanyam, Jean J. Kim, Jianrong Dong, Aijun Zhang, Shumin Li, Anisha A. Gupte, Dale J. Hamilton, James F. Martin, George G. Rodney, Cristian Coarfa, Xander H.T. Wehrens, Vijay K. Yechoor, Mousumi Moulik
The oncoprotein Mdm2 is a RING domain–containing E3 ubiquitin ligase that ubiquitinates G protein–coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) and β-arrestin2, thereby regulating β-adrenergic receptor (βAR) signaling and endocytosis. Previous studies showed that cardiac Mdm2 expression is critical for controlling p53-dependent apoptosis during early embryonic development, but the role of Mdm2 in the developed adult heart is unknown. We aimed to identify if Mdm2 affects βAR signaling and cardiac function in adult mice. Using Mdm2/p53–KO mice, which survive for 9–12 months, we identified a critical and potentially novel role for Mdm2 in the adult mouse heart through its regulation of cardiac β1AR signaling. While baseline cardiac function was mostly similar in both Mdm2/p53–KO and wild-type (WT) mice, isoproterenol-induced cardiac contractility in Mdm2/p53–KO was significantly blunted compared with WT mice. Isoproterenol increased cAMP in left ventricles of WT but not of Mdm2/p53–KO mice. Additionally, while basal and forskolin-induced calcium handling in isolated Mdm2/p53–KO and WT cardiomyocytes were equivalent, isoproterenol-induced calcium handling in Mdm2/p53–KO was impaired. Mdm2/p53–KO hearts expressed 2-fold more GRK2 than WT. GRK2 polyubiquitination via lysine-48 linkages was significantly reduced in Mdm2/p53–KO hearts. Tamoxifen-inducible cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of Mdm2 in adult mice also led to a significant increase in GRK2, and resulted in severely impaired cardiac function, high mortality, and no detectable βAR responsiveness. Gene delivery of either Mdm2 or GRK2-CT in vivo using adeno-associated virus 9 (AAV9) effectively rescued β1AR-induced cardiac contractility in Mdm2/p53–KO. These findings reveal a critical p53-independent physiological role of Mdm2 in adult hearts, namely, regulation of GRK2-mediated desensitization of βAR signaling.
Pierre-Yves Jean-Charles, Samuel Mon-Wei Yu, Dennis Abraham, Reddy Peera Kommaddi, Lan Mao, Ryan T. Strachan, Zhu-Shan Zhang, Dawn E. Bowles, Leigh Brian, Jonathan A. Stiber, Stephen N. Jones, Walter J. Koch, Howard A. Rockman, Sudha K. Shenoy
Ventricular chamber growth and development during perinatal circulatory transition is critical for functional adaptation of the heart. However, the chamber-specific programs of neonatal heart growth are poorly understood. We used integrated systems genomic and functional biology analyses of the perinatal chamber specific transcriptome and we identified Wnt11 as a prominent regulator of chamber-specific proliferation. Importantly, downregulation of Wnt11 expression was associated with cyanotic congenital heart defect (CHD) phenotypes and correlated with O2 saturation levels in hypoxemic infants with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). Perinatal hypoxia treatment in mice suppressed Wnt11 expression and induced myocyte proliferation more robustly in the right ventricle, modulating Rb1 protein activity. Wnt11 inactivation was sufficient to induce myocyte proliferation in perinatal mouse hearts and reduced Rb1 protein and phosphorylation in neonatal cardiomyocytes. Finally, downregulated Wnt11 in hypoxemic TOF infantile hearts was associated with Rb1 suppression and induction of proliferation markers. This study revealed a previously uncharacterized function of Wnt11-mediated signaling as an important player in programming the chamber-specific growth of the neonatal heart. This function influences the chamber-specific development and pathogenesis in response to hypoxia and cyanotic CHDs. Defining the underlying regulatory mechanism may yield chamber-specific therapies for infants born with CHDs.
Marlin Touma, Xuedong Kang, Fuying Gao, Yan Zhao, Ashley A. Cass, Reshma Biniwale, Xinshu Xiao, Mansuoreh Eghbali, Giovanni Coppola, Brian Reemtsen, Yibin Wang
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